Our previous post discussed Digital Marketing Trends for 2023 1-9 and expected changes. As a B2B marketer, you want to maximize your B2B marketing investment while taking advantage of these growing trends. This blog will dig deeper and explore B2B marketing trends for 2023 impacting demand generation.
To provide context, we will use our demand gen framework (pictured below) to look into trends impacting how you plan, activate your audience, establish trust and authority, and build and nurture relationships. With our framework as your guide, you’ll be able to capitalize on these trends to amplify your digital marketing results!
The Demand Gen Framework
At Vende Digital, we have developed a Demand Gen Framework built on four crucial pillars. These pillars are the key to boosting our clients’ awareness, generating interest, and positioning their business as the go-to vendor. Let’s jump in and unpack the latest trends in B2B marketing in 2023 for each one.
Understanding your ideal customer is the key to success. When you know who they are, you can prepare and plan accordingly. With the right information in hand, you can align your messaging and content to those businesses that will be the best fit for your services – giving you a significant advantage in the battle of marketing.
You want every interaction your customer has in this digital world to feel like it was designed just for them.
And this leads to our first trend.
Trend #10: Humanization, Personalization, Segmentation
In 2023, look for ways to humanize your engagement with customers and prospects to deliver better results and emotionally connect to your brand.
At Vende Digital, we build community and host a monthly webinar series to connect with our ideal audience, allowing them to put a face to our brand and get to know us better.
As the founder, I also share content on my personal LinkedIn profile to connect with our audience and engage with prospects and customers in a more natural “human” way. Now is the time to talk to your CEO about getting active on social media.
You can also build an emotional connection with personalization. People want to feel that you are talking just to them, and by personalizing your content for them, you immediately create that connection.
Segmentation, on the other hand, categorizes your audience into groups with similar characteristics or different levels of awareness.
Assess your content, campaigns, and assets to find ways to add more of a human touch:
- How can you make your landing pages more focused on individual segments?
- How can you segment your ads to call out your audience by name?
All these subtleties can enhance their experience by delivering content relating to their level of awareness while adding a personal touch.
Trend #11: Develop a Content Series vs. Static Events
B2B marketers love events. Trade Shows, webinars, and conferences are great ways to meet and engage with your buyers. But it also offers the opportunity to record videos and create content.
But an even more strategic approach for 2023 would be to serialize your events.
That’s right. Just like Yellowstone. How can you make a recurring series of content for your audience? Doing so can help you create continuity, enhance your brand image and create “FOMO” for your audience.
In 2022, we started the Demand Gen Jam Sessions – a series of webinars hosted live at the same time each month (2nd Wednesday at 12 PM CT). We shared the topics in advance, allowing us to engage with professionals and explore various demand generation strategies.
Our first event only had 20-30 people in attendance; now, we have 100+ at each event. All this helps us humanize our brand, build a community and feed our content flywheel while strengthening our SEO.
Activate Your Audience
All the content in the world is worth little if your audience doesn’t see it. Knowing where your audience spends online can ensure that your marketing efforts return results. This is where you want to build a presence and increase your chances of them consuming your content.
Trend #12: Podcast Guesting
Podcasts are a growing medium that has become increasingly popular in the U.S. According to Statista, more than 82 million people listened to podcasts in 2021. And this number is set to grow to over 100 million listeners by 2024.
Podcasts are a great way to get in front of your audience. But instead of starting your own show, be a guest on a show with an established audience.
Find shows that are relevant to your ideal customers. Reach out to them, tell them what you do, and why you think you’d be a good fit for their show. Get your subject matter experts out on the podcast circuit to share their knowledge and experience.
Will you try to reach the increasing number of listeners tuning in to B2B podcasts daily? Now is the time to leverage this growing market and be seen by potential customers.
Trend #13: Personal Branding for C-Suite/SMEs/Employees
Personal branding is the buzzword of the moment. But B2B companies are struggling to see the value it offers. They still see it as a flashy, vain practice for young people who post selfies.
But building a personal brand has more to do with developing a public reputation than looking flashy. It’s about building a community and engaging with your audience to build relationships.
Primarily this is done through social media. And can be amplified by involving both leadership and employees. The more people talk about your brand on social media, the more eyes will be on your organization.
At Vende Digital, I’ve taken an active role in sharing content on LinkedIn, and this strategy has helped us attract customers and establish us as an authority in our field.
In 2022 I saw over 500,000 views for my content and an increase of nearly 300% over 2021. And I achieved this by simply engaging 30 minutes a day after I posted content.
Both engagement and publishing content will have a compound effect on your reach. As a result, the content I share reaches far more prospects than content shared on our company page.
If you get your employees involved in sharing their points of view and humanizing your company’s content on social media, your business will achieve more exposure.
Trend #14: Run Always On Campaigns
To grow in 2023, B2Bs must maintain consistent online visibility through organic content and paid promotion. But many B2B companies fail to do this, opting for bottom-of-the-funnel lead gen campaigns.
They’ve got an e-book, run ads on LinkedIn with a native lead gen form or drive them to a landing page, prompting them to download the e-book in exchange for their contact information.
With only a <5% of buyers being in the market at any given time, you should focus on marketing to all customers all the time. This includes targeting customers at all levels throughout the funnel – from top-of-the-funnel prospects to bottom-of-the-funnel in-market buyers.
Here are the keys to running an effective “Always-On” approach:
- Top of The Funnel (ToFu): target a cold audience who are your ideal customers to create awareness and drive traffic to your website. In this way, you can build a retargeting pool. But the plan at this stage is to educate your customers, rather than sell to them.
- Middle of The Funnel (MoFu): The next stage is ensuring you share information with problem-aware buyers that have identified their problem and now seek a solution. This may be directing them to deeper content, an event, a community, or an asset that helps them move forward in their journey.
- Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu): Once they’ve moved through the middle of the funnel, we can encourage them to sign up for a demo, a trial, watch a testimonial or read a case study. The key is to move them through your funnel with the right messaging based on their behavior.
One of the main goals of all your marketing is to establish trust and authority with your buyers. This should be done by distributing content that helps your customers understand and solve their problems.
Trend #15: Turn Your Website into a Buyer Enablement Tool
Your website is essential for establishing authority and showing prospects that you are the right choice to solve their problem. It is also the go-to place for long-form content, helpful resources, and more.
But don’t simply treat your site like a glorified brochure. You control the user experience. Position it as a buyer enablement tool.
We analyze websites daily, and almost all suffer from a “me” problem. All their messaging is about how great they are, fancy features, and bells and whistles.
But nothing about their customers and their problems.
What will establish authority is showing your customers that you understand their problems and the pain that they are experiencing.
But that requires specific messaging, content, and resources. All this must be at your prospect’s fingertips, easy to find, access, and navigate. If your website is confusing, you can be sure you will lose them.
Trend #16: Ungate Content
The days of locking up your content behind digital bars are over. You need to get your high-quality content out in front of your audience. And that starts with repurposing your ebooks into blog posts and social content.
Why should you take the plunge?
Removing the form can make your valuable point of view more accessible and increase buyers’ exposure to your best content.
Additionally, sharing your content on social media and search engines will elevate your authority in the field. Taking the step to ungate content is an integral element in enabling buyers.
Trend #17: Win Mid-Funnel with Resources & Tools
Let’s be honest; we weren’t ever winning the mid-funnel by gating content. We were just generating leads of folks that like to read. But, it made us feel better about our job since we could produce reports that showed how many leads we generated.
Now that we are ungating our content, we need a better way to win the mid-funnel. The answer goes back to buyer enablement. What do buyers need to make informed purchase decisions?
When we work with clients, we often find that they have great information locked up in demo calls, discovery calls, client pitch decks, etc. Unfortunately, this content doesn’t exist anywhere prospects can find it and consume it. How can you convert this valuable content into resources and tools and share it with more prospects?
Check out the Resource Center on our website. We try to produce one useful checklist, guide, video, and template each month to help buyers in their journey. They don’t have to be fancy. They just have to be helpful.
Trend #18: Leverage Content Hubs
Once you have a library of content, the challenge is making it easy for your customers to find what they need. This is where a content hub can provide an interface between your customer and your content.
Content hubs should focus on specific topic categories and provide easy navigation and accessibility to help your customers find all your best content.
The faster they can find the answers, the better. And Google will reward you for it.
But be sure to build your content hub based on your content pillars. These content pillars will maintain consistency, build authority and strengthen your SEO.
All your marketing efforts are leading toward one thing, establishing and maintaining relationships with your buyers. It’s why you create content, engage on social media, structure your messaging, and everything else.
It’s all about attracting, connecting, and maintaining trust with your customers over the long haul.
Trend #19: Rethink Trade Shows
Stop thinking about exhibiting at a trade show and consider how trade shows can become part of your content flywheel.
You could send fewer people, but take a camera and use your time to interview your prospects, suppliers, or anyone that could offer insights, feedback, or information.
Then take this content and repurpose it to generate long-form blogs, short-form videos, social content posts, and other assets.
Once you approach a trade show with your content flywheel in mind, you’ll see how much value you can create by recording video content at these events.
Trend #20: Develop Content to Drive Sales Conversations
The primary purpose of content is to serve your customers. But it can also serve as a resource to help sales reps follow up with prospects. As business slows down this year, your sales reps will be hungry for reasons to call their prospects. Fresh content resources will give them fuel to motivate interest in your services.
They can be conversation starters for follow-ups with prospects while offering customers value in return.
Trend #21: Personalized Content Hubs
Just as you want to create content hubs for your customers to navigate your resources, you also want to make all your content resources available for your sales reps and or key accounts.
This can be a landing page with your rep’s contact information that is co-branded for the prospect. The page should include all relevant resources structured to guide the specific prospects through the buyer’s journey. These work especially well with large buying committees.
The more organized and structured your information, the better your prospects will be able to find and share resources with others on the buying committee. And this is a win for your customer and your team.
Trend #22: Rethink Email
Email is one of the most underrated channels in marketing. But when used correctly, it can yield excellent results. But many B2B companies fail to leverage it correctly.
Hulu and Netflix are two companies getting it right. They get it. Their emails are personalized and keep you updated about new and relevant shows. But it’s never about selling you anything. It’s to help you consume content that you are interested in.
That’s it. No sales. No promotions. No upsells – just plain content promotion.
And this is a strategy to use to promote content your audience may want to see. No selling. Think of new ways to deliver email that helps your audience consume more content.
Trend #23: Building Community
Online communities are booming. And for a good reason. People want to be a part of social groups where they can interact, learn and share. It’s why social media has exploded to the degree it has.
But there are many types of communities outside of social media. Businesses utilize Slack, Discord, and others to create private communities effectively. These are places where your customers and prospects can:
- Connect with each other
- Access exclusive content and resources
- Interact with your brand directly
As we go into 2023, communities will continue to blossom and be used by B2B companies to develop more intimate experiences for their customers.
If you are looking for a supportive environment to learn and grow in 2023 or want to connect with other B2B digital marketers, you should check out our Demand Gen Jammers group on LinkedIn.
Key Takeaways for Demand Gen Framework for 2023:
A clear framework to structure your demand gen activities can help you achieve far greater success. Here are the four key strategies to use in 2023:
- Planning begins with your ideal customer.
- Identify the biggest challenges and struggles your customers are facing
- Add the human touch to every touch point.
- Serialize your content for continuity and to grow an audience.
- Activate your Audience in places they spend time.
- Leverage podcast audiences to create visibility.
- Encourage leadership to grow their presence on social media
- Ensure your marketing is targeting all your customers all the time.
- Establish Authority with customer-focused content resources.
- Use your website as a buyer enablement tool and content hub.
- Ungate your content, and share your best content and resources.
- Nurture Relationships for the Long-Term.
- Leverage trade shows to capture content for your audience.
- Create content resources for your sales team to use on calls.
- Use email to promote your best content but not to sell.
- Strengthen your brand with the intimacy of communities.
Read our previous post, Digital Trends Shaping B2B Marketing in 2023, to learn more about what trends will likely shape B2B marketing this year.
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